High temps add extra challenge to run finale

August 17, 2010

By Kirsten Johnson

Husband, wife duo scorch the field to win men’s, women’s divisions

Trisha Steidl gets close to the finish line of the 13.1-mile Cougar Mountain Trail Run finale Aug. 14, as husband Uli, the men’s division winner, roots her on to her women’s division victory. By Greg Farrar

At 8:30 a.m. Aug. 14, a body of energy-charged runners took off running on a 13.1-mile course in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The weather was just beginning to approach 80 degrees.

Each was taking part in the final run of the eighth-annual Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series, a four-part series that began three months ago in May.

The first of the four runs was five miles and drew more than 200 participants. Runners ran seven miles in June and 10 in July. This past Saturday, the longest run of the series drew 174 runners.

Like the three previous races, Saturday’s race started at the Sky Country trailhead in the park, just off of 166th Way Southeast. The Seattle Running Club sponsored the event.Uli Steidl, of Shoreline, took first place overall with a final time of 1:39:28. Steidl has been running for more than 20 years, and has raced locally and around the world. He has won the Seattle Marathon eight times.

“The real question is, what haven’t I run?” he joked.

Because of the high temperature, runners’ finishing overall times were slower than in previous years. But having won the finale of the series, Steidl didn’t seem to mind.

“My time was slow, but I’m just happy I won,” he said. “There was some good competition.”

As first-place finisher, Steidl received a $275 prize. Second place received $125 and third place, a $50 Fleet Feet gift card.

Steidl is now training to run the Cologne marathon on Oct. 4 in Cologne, Germany.

Coming in second place was Paul Limpf with a time of 1:41:31. Limpf is a recent graduate of Eastern Washington University and also resides in Shoreline. This was Limpf’s first time racing on a trail course.

“Since this was my first trail run, I feel alright about my time, considering the heat,” Limpf said. “Second behind Uli is a pretty good day. It was fun, but I can definitely improve.”

Finishing in first place for the women with a time of 2:10:25 was Trisha Steidl, wife of Uli, the overall winner. The two are head and assistant running coaches at Seattle University.

“My time was slow, but the guys were slow, too,” she said. “I didn’t care how fast I was, I just wanted to win.”

Second-place finisher for the women, Nichole Sellon, of Edmonds, said that heat combined with the tough race course was a challenge for racers.

“The heat made it tough,” she said. “This is the longest race I’ve ever ran, but I just went in to have fun. I’m proud of myself. No complaints here.”

The 13.1-mile course was a difficult run that contained sharp twists and hills, with challenging terrain and sudden changes in elevation.

Brandon Thomas, an 18-year-old recent Liberty High School graduate who will enter the University of Washington as a freshman this fall, ran all four races in the trail series this year. Running on the trails was a fun challenge for him.

“The twists and turns definitely slow you down,” he said. “But it feels good after, like you’ve accomplished something. And I like the competition.”

Kirsten Johnson: 392-6434 or isspress@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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